Dropbox doesn’t have to worry much about gaining an enterprise footprint, the reality is that it’s already huge. There are over 4 million unique companies using the service, according to Ilya Fushman, head of product, Dropbox for Business. And there are likely to be a good number of users within each one. Consider that Dropbox, as a whole, has more than 300 million users, many of whom use Dropbox in the workplace -- with or without their employers’ blessings.
We’re in an era of consumerized IT where the worker, rather than IT, chooses the tools. And according to a survey released by mobile gateway provider Wandera, Dropbox is 13 times more popular in the enterprise than file sync and share competitor Box and nine times more popular than Google Drive.
That being said, it’s only in the last 18 months that Dropbox has actively and seriously gone after business customers. This has meant rethinking what they bring to market. After all, as a consumer you own your content, in the workplace it belongs to your employer and it’s under their purview to protect, track and control it.
Dropbox's Balancing Act
The challenge for Fushman and his team is one of balance. More specifically, Dropbox for Business has to deliver enterprise-grade file storage, synchronization and sharing capabilities and controls without wrecking the Dropbox experience that end users love.
It seems that they’ve been right on the money thus far, considering that more than 80,000 companies pay to use the service. And they’ve apparently been delighted by what they have found.
“Our marketing team is getting exactly what it wants (they want to use Dropbox on the job), and we’re just applying some control,” says Geoff Stephens, IT Technical Analyst & Network/Systems Administrator at Suntory, a distributor and marketer of premium, global spirits and liqueurs including Midori, Cointreau, Tia Maria and Russian Standard, among others.
Aside from the expected features of many file sync and share products, Stephens says that he’s especially excited about the capabilities Dropbox is making available to all Dropbox for Business users starting today: namely view-only permissions for shared folders, passwords for shared links, and expirations for shared links.
Peace of Mind for Managers
The team at Suntory has already made good use of these features via Dropbox’s early access program and they were thrilled with the experience.
“Our marketers use lots of content text, photos, videos … they’re constantly editing and we don’t want to lose the original because someone grabs something they shouldn’t have access to or accidentally edits it,” says Stephens. He adds that expirations and passwords for shared links have given reluctant managers “peace of mind.”
Then there’s the whole content management problem that Dropbox helps Suntory solve. “We have so much content that getting through it could be slow,” says Stephens, “but now we have the ability to swipe through it as fast as it can be loaded.”
But these are far from the only problems Dropbox for Business has helped Suntory solve.
It seems that they had a Dropbox problem before they ever spent a dime on Dropbox, meaning that workers were downloading it and using it at work without anyone’s permission. “We found out that one-third of our employees were using Dropbox before we even introduced it,” says Stephens, adding that it was “a bit of a shock.”
That’s a seemingly bad thing that’s turned into a good thing because the rate of acceptance for Dropbox for Business was exceedingly high, and when it came to training, virtually none was required.
And from a Suntory end user’s perspective, getting unlimited storage on Dropbox is a huge plus. “We’re able to free them from the shackles,” says Stephens.
IT Changes Personas from Enforcer to Giver
That may be Dropbox for Business’ biggest sell: namely giving workers the tools that they like and already use and IT the control that it needs. Not only that, but IT looks like a “giver” instead of an enforcer because they remove the storage constraints attached to individual versus business accounts.